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Full text of "The Egyptian Problem"

162
THE  EGYPTIAN PROBLEM
CHAP.
Department sums up as follows the result of its investigations :—
" To-day the greater part of Egypt is filthy and no self-respecting people can be raised in such filthy surroundings. As of old, Egypt is plagued with disease, and it is hopeless to expect a disease-ridden people to play their proper part in furthering the welfare of their country. The infant mortality in Egypt is appalling, actually one-third of the children born dying in infancy. The verminous condition of tfoe fellaheen shows no improvement, though lice are now known to be conveyers of typhus and relapsing fevers which account for so many deaths."
Equally hopeless must it be to expect in such conditions any great improvement in one of the most disquieting aspects of village life. Though the fellaheen are on the whole of an easy-going nature and good-tempered, and free from the gross immorality rampant in Egyptian town life, almost every village is either divided into hostile factions whose feuds frequently lead to crimes of violence, or else dominated by a handful of bad characters who, sometimes in collusion with Omdehs of the worst type, terrorise the countryside. The result is seen in the alarming statistics of crime, especially murder and attempted murder, robbery, arson, and destruction of crops, i.e., just the crimes due to village vendettas. There is no healthy public opinion that can be enlisted on the side of the authorities to put them down. On. the contrary, if some ruffian is caught almost red-handed, it is often impossible to get even the relatives of his victim to come forward and give evidence against him for fear of reprisals. They prefer to wait for his acquittal, when they deal out their own vengeance upon him. British Advisers and Inspectors have set their face against the rough-and-ready methods by which the old-fashioned Mudir and Mamour used to destroy such pests, and the more fastidious judicial methods we have introduced have proved dangerously ineffective. Ten years ago, when things were not even nearly as bad as they are now,us joy when each landowner, howeversly  and  promptly  expended